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Michael Faraday

Geburtstag: 22. September 1791
Todesdatum: 25. August 1867

Michael Faraday [ˈfærədeɪ] war ein englischer Naturforscher, der als einer der bedeutendsten Experimentalphysiker gilt. Faradays Entdeckungen der „elektromagnetischen Rotation“ und der elektromagnetischen Induktion legten den Grundstein zur Herausbildung der Elektroindustrie. Seine anschaulichen Deutungen des magnetooptischen Effekts und des Diamagnetismus mittels Kraftlinien und Feldern führten zur Entwicklung der Theorie des Elektromagnetismus. Bereits um 1820 galt Faraday als führender chemischer Analytiker Großbritanniens. Er entdeckte eine Reihe von neuen Kohlenwasserstoffen, darunter Benzol und Buten, und formulierte die Grundgesetze der Elektrolyse.

Aufgewachsen in einfachen Verhältnissen und ausgebildet als Buchbinder, fand der von der Naturforschung begeisterte Faraday eine Anstellung als Laborgehilfe von Humphry Davy an der Royal Institution, die zu seiner wichtigsten Wirkungsstätte wurde. Im Labor der Royal Institution führte er seine wegbereitenden elektromagnetischen Experimente durch, in ihrem Hörsaal trug er mit seinen Weihnachtsvorlesungen dazu bei, neue wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse zu verbreiten. 1833 wurde Faraday zum ersten Fuller-Professor für Chemie ernannt. Faraday führte etwa 30.000 Experimente durch und veröffentlichte 450 wissenschaftliche Artikel. Die wichtigsten seiner Publikationen zum Elektromagnetismus fasste er in seinen Experimental Researches in Electricity zusammen. Sein populärstes Werk Chemical History of a Candle war die Mitschrift einer seiner Weihnachtsvorlesungen.

Im Auftrag des britischen Staates bildete Faraday mehr als zwanzig Jahre lang die Kadetten der Royal Military Academy in Woolwich in Chemie aus. Er arbeitete für eine Vielzahl von Behörden und öffentlichen Einrichtungen, beispielsweise für die Schifffahrtsbehörde Trinity House, das British Museum, das Home Office und das Board of Trade.

Faraday gehörte zu den Anhängern einer kleinen christlichen Minderheit, den Sandemanianern, an deren religiösem Leben er aktiv teilnahm. Wikipedia

Zitate Michael Faraday

„Ich werde bei Christus sein, das genügt mir.“

—  Michael Faraday

Letzte Worte, 25. August 1867, auf die Frage, ob er schon darüber nachgedacht habe, was er in der nächsten Welt machen werde
Original engl.: "I shall be with Christ, and that is enough."

„We learn by such results as these, what is the kind of education that science offers to man. It teaches us to be neglectful of nothing, not to despise the small beginnings — they precede of necessity all great things.“

—  Michael Faraday

Vesicles make clouds; they are trifles light as air, but then they make drops, and drops make showers, rain makes torrents and rivers, and these can alter the face of a country, and even keep the ocean to its proper fulness and use. It teaches a continual comparison of the small and great, and that under differences almost approaching the infinite, for the small as often contains the great in principle, as the great does the small; and thus the mind becomes comprehensive. It teaches to deduce principles carefully, to hold them firmly, or to suspend the judgment, to discover and obey law, and by it to be bold in applying to the greatest what we know of the smallest. It teaches us first by tutors and books, to learn that which is already known to others, and then by the light and methods which belong to science to learn for ourselves and for others; so making a fruitful return to man in the future for that which we have obtained from the men of the past.
Lecture notes of 1858, quoted in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) by Bence Jones, Vol. 2, p. 403

„Nature is our kindest friend and best critic in experimental science if we only allow her intimations to fall unbiased on our minds.“

—  Michael Faraday

Letter to John Tyndall (19 April 1851); letter 2411, edited by
Kontext: I have far more confidence in the one man who works mentally and bodily at a matter than in the six who merely talk about it — and I therefore hope and am fully persuaded that you are working. Nature is our kindest friend and best critic in experimental science if we only allow her intimations to fall unbiased on our minds. Nothing is so good as an experiment which, whilst it sets an error right, gives us (as a reward for our humility in being reproved) an absolute advancement in knowledge.

„Bacon in his instruction tells us that the scientific student ought not to be as the ant, who gathers merely, nor as the spider who spins from her own bowels, but rather as the bee who both gathers and produces.“

—  Michael Faraday

Lecture notes of 1858, quoted in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) by Bence Jones, Vol. 2, p. 404
Kontext: Bacon in his instruction tells us that the scientific student ought not to be as the ant, who gathers merely, nor as the spider who spins from her own bowels, but rather as the bee who both gathers and produces. All this is true of the teaching afforded by any part of physical science. Electricity is often called wonderful, beautiful; but it is so only in common with the other forces of nature. The beauty of electricity or of any other force is not that the power is mysterious, and unexpected, touching every sense at unawares in turn, but that it is under law, and that the taught intellect can even now govern it largely. The human mind is placed above, and not beneath it, and it is in such a point of view that the mental education afforded by science is rendered super-eminent in dignity, in practical application and utility; for by enabling the mind to apply the natural power through law, it conveys the gifts of God to man.

„It teaches us first by tutors and books, to learn that which is already known to others, and then by the light and methods which belong to science to learn for ourselves and for others; so making a fruitful return to man in the future for that which we have obtained from the men of the past.“

—  Michael Faraday

Lecture notes of 1858, quoted in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) by Bence Jones, Vol. 2, p. 403
Kontext: We learn by such results as these, what is the kind of education that science offers to man. It teaches us to be neglectful of nothing, not to despise the small beginnings — they precede of necessity all great things. Vesicles make clouds; they are trifles light as air, but then they make drops, and drops make showers, rain makes torrents and rivers, and these can alter the face of a country, and even keep the ocean to its proper fulness and use. It teaches a continual comparison of the small and great, and that under differences almost approaching the infinite, for the small as often contains the great in principle, as the great does the small; and thus the mind becomes comprehensive. It teaches to deduce principles carefully, to hold them firmly, or to suspend the judgment, to discover and obey law, and by it to be bold in applying to the greatest what we know of the smallest. It teaches us first by tutors and books, to learn that which is already known to others, and then by the light and methods which belong to science to learn for ourselves and for others; so making a fruitful return to man in the future for that which we have obtained from the men of the past.

„Speculations? I have none. I am resting on certainties.“

—  Michael Faraday

When asked about his speculations on life beyond death, as quoted in The Homiletic Review‎ (April 1896), p. 442
Kontext: Speculations? I have none. I am resting on certainties. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

„I am, I hope, very thankful that in the withdrawal of the powers and things of life, the good hope is left with me, which makes the contemplation of death a comfort — not a fear.“

—  Michael Faraday

Letter to Auguste de la Rive (1861), as quoted in The Philosopher's Tree : A Selection of Michael Faraday's Writings (1999) edited by Peter Day, p. 199
Kontext: I am, I hope, very thankful that in the withdrawal of the powers and things of life, the good hope is left with me, which makes the contemplation of death a comfort — not a fear. Such peace is alone the gift of God, and as it is He who gives it, why should we be afraid? His unspeakable gift in His beloved Son is the ground of no doubtful hope, and there is the rest for those who )like you and me) are drawing near the latter end of our terms here below. I do not know, however why I should join you with me in years. I forget your age, but this I know (and feel as well) that next Sabbath day (the 22nd) I shall complete my 70th year. I can hardly think myself so old as I write to you — so much of cheerful spirit, ease and general health is left to me, and if my memory fails, why it causes that I forget troubles as well as pleasure and the end is, I am happy and content.

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„Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires.“

—  Michael Faraday

Royal Institution Lecture On Mental Education (6 May 1854), as reprinted in Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics, by Michael Faraday, 1859, pp 474-475, emphasis verbatim.
Kontext: Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires. It is impossible for any one who has not been constrained, by the course of his occupation and thoughts, to a habit of continual self-correction, to be aware of the amount of error in relation to judgment arising from this tendency. The force of the temptation which urges us to seek for such evidence and appearances as are in favour of our desires, and to disregard those which oppose them, is wonderfully great. In this respect we are all, more or less, active promoters of error. In place of practising wholesome self-abnegation, we ever make the wish the father to the thought: we receive as friendly that which agrees with, we resist with dislike that which opposes us; whereas the very reverse is required by every dictate of common sense.

„I have far more confidence in the one man who works mentally and bodily at a matter than in the six who merely talk about it“

—  Michael Faraday

and I therefore hope and am fully persuaded that you are working. Nature is our kindest friend and best critic in experimental science if we only allow her intimations to fall unbiased on our minds. Nothing is so good as an experiment which, whilst it sets an error right, gives us (as a reward for our humility in being reproved) an absolute advancement in knowledge.
Letter to John Tyndall (19 April 1851); letter 2411, edited by [Frank A. J. L. James, The correspondence of Michael Faraday, Volume 4, IET, 1999, 0863412513, 281]

„I was at first almost frightened when I saw such mathematical force made to bear upon the subject, and then wondered to see that the subject stood it so well.“

—  Michael Faraday

Letter to James Clerk Maxwell (25 March 1857), commenting on Maxwell's paper titled "On Faraday's Lines of Force"; letter published in The Life of James Clerk Maxwell: With Selections from His Correspondence (1884), edited by Lewis Campbell and William Garnett, p. 200; also in Coming of Age in the Milky Way (2003) by Timothy Ferris, p. 186

„I shall be with Christ, and that is enough.“

—  Michael Faraday

Last words, answering the question "Have you ever pondered by yourself what will be your occupation in the next world?", as quoted in The Speaker's QuoteBook (1997) edited by Roy B. Zuck, p. 108

„But still try, for who knows what is possible…“

—  Michael Faraday

As quoted in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) Vol. II, edited by Henry Bence Jones, p. 483; also engraved above the doorways of the Pfahler Hall of Science at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania (see photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/monyca/17917765/in/pool-ursinus/).

„I am no poet, but if you think for yourselves, as I proceed, the facts will form a poem in your minds.“

—  Michael Faraday

Lecture notes of 1858, quoted in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) by Bence Jones, Vol. 2, p. 403

„Why, sir, there is every probability that you will soon be able to tax it.“

—  Michael Faraday

Faraday's purported reply to William Gladstone, then British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance), when asked of the practical value of electricity (1850) as quoted in Democracy and Liberty (1899) by William Edward Hartpole Lecky, p. xxxi , and in Discovery Or The Spirit And Service Of Science (1918) by R.A Gregory, p 3. The variant "One day sir, you may tax it." is given in The Harvest of a Quiet Eye : A Selection of Scientific Quotations (1977), p. 56, but they source it to Discovery which differs in its quote. According to Snopes in "Long Ago and Faraday" http://www.snopes.com/quotes/faraday.asp, it is most likely an invented quotation, as there are no contemporaneous records, though Lecky did live through the same time as Faraday and Gladstone.
Disputed

„No wonder that my remembrance fails me, for I shall complete my 70 years next Sunday (the 22); — and during these 70 years I have had a happy life; which still remains happy because of hope and content.“

—  Michael Faraday

Letter of Faraday to Christian Friedrich Schönbein (19 September 1861); see also The Letters of Faraday and Schoenbein 1836-1862 (1899), edited by Georg W. A. Kahlbaum and Francis V. Darbishire, p. 349 http://www.archive.org/details/lettersoffaraday00fararich

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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